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The Boston Camerata performs Shaker Music Celebration

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NEW PALTZ -- The Boston Camerata, a renowned early music vocal ensemble with over 40 recordings to their credit, will perform a concert of Shaker songs at SUNY New Paltz on Friday, January 28, 2005 at 8pm in the Julien J. Studley Theatre.

Image available at The Golden Harvest, the collection of songs are arranged by themes: the joy and thanksgiving felt by Shakers in their promised land of America; the need for humility; the spiritual gifts of birds, native spirits, and angels; comfort in times of trouble; and harvest celebration.

Boston Camerata Music Director Joel Cohen transcribed the works from original mid-19th century manuscripts in the collection of the Shaker library at Sabbathday Lake in Poland Spring, Maine. Sabbathday Lake is the last remaining Shaker community.

Cohen's work has resulted in two award-winning recordings by the Camerata. In 1995 the group released Simple Gifts, an historic chronicle of Shaker music in America. In 2000 a second recording of Shaker songs, Golden Harvest, was released. The Shaker music project has also been the subject of extensive coverage on national television, on American public radio and the BBC.

In traditional Shaker style, these songs are performed by voices only, a cappella - one of the basic of human communal experiences - unaccompanied voices singing in unison. Occasionally, the singers join in the rhythmic foot-stomping and dancing for which the Shakers are known.

Music has long played a central role in Shaker worship - from the early songs that expressed pure, wordless feeling, to the later hymns and anthems, which reflected some of the musical modes of the day. The remarkable power and quiet beauty of this music is a testament to the Shaker vision of simplicity, proportion, and harmony.

There is a Shaker song for every occasion and songs are sung during the various worship services each day, as well as at work and recreation. The amazing variety, beauty, and irresistible, folksong quality of many of these songs, address everything from joy to grief to praise to humble assertions of faith.

In recent seasons, The Boston Camerata has performed in Canada, England, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands, Singapore, and Israel. In the United States, the Camerata has participated in recent early music festivals at Berkeley and San Antonio, as well as in most of the biennial Boston Early Music Festivals from 1981 to 1993. Camerata's second, third and fourth invitations to the Tanglewood Festival came in 1992, 1994 and 1995, respectively.

The Boston Camerata's performance is presented by the Department of Music and the School of Fine and Performing Arts at SUNY New Paltz.

Tickets for this event are: $42 orchestra center (includes a meet-the-artist reception) / $27 adults / $22 senior citizens & SUNY staff / $15 students.

Tickets are currently available online. To purchase them visit and follow the link at "Premier Events". For phone and box office sales, beginning January 25, call (845) 257-3880.

Images to accompany this release are available at